Double Oaks Estate in the Macedon Ranges sounds like a hedonist’s paradise. Not only is it a winery, it’s also a truffle plantation and offers American-style BBQ, owned and run by Travis and Kristy Chehab. The vineyard in Lancefield was planted in 1980 to Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Shiraz, and Cabernet Sauvignon, with the meunier and Shiraz eventually removed, and additional plantings then made of Chardonnay. The property was purchased by the Chehabs in 2016 and their backgrounds in science and hospitality obviously came in very handy in their shift into wine. Their wines offer tremendous value and each drinks well, either by itself or with food.
2020 Double Oaks Chardonnay – A$36 – 8/10
From estate fruit, the Chardonnay comes from two clones (I10V1 and P58), with each parcel picked and vinified separately. The juice was fermented in French oak, with around 25% being “immersion bent”, that is, with staves bent by being immersed in hot water, rather than with fire. It’s believed that this technique results in less oak influence in the wine. With 50% of the Chardonnay fermented using wild yeasts, the resulting wine rested on its lees for six months and was then aged in barrel for 10 months before bottling and release. The 2020 Double Oaks Chardonnay is a gorgeous wine. There is no discernible oak, allowing the fruit to shine, which it does oh so well. The aromas and flavours of lemon, melon, wax, honey and banana are very intense and bright, with bracing acidity, long length and a lovely mouthfeel (including some saltiness) all coming together to deliver a delicious, balanced wine.
2020 Double Oaks Riesling – A$36 – 8/10
The Macedon Ranges has a long history with Riesling, with its climate permitting the fine aromatics of the grape to develop slowly. The Double Oaks Riesling received treatment more akin to Chardonnay, with the juice being wild fermented in old French barrels. As is now quite common, the Riesling was then aged on its lees for several months, which added some body and texture to the wine, while still allowing the fruit to dominate. Upon opening the bottle, I was hit with a blast of almost Viognier-like aromas of apricot and wax. While they remained, after a bit of breathing they were joined by lemon, peach, blossom and musk, which are all present on the palate, as well as some salinity. This is an excellent food wine, with its high acidity and medium alcohol making it a great accompaniment to cheese, chicken, fish or anything oily and salty.
2020 Double Oaks Pinot Noir – A$38 – 7.5/10
Pinot Noir is a natural fit for the cool climes of the Macedon Ranges. The workhorse MV6 clone is capable of producing a wide range of distinct wines, and Double Oaks has done a fine job with theirs. Grapes were crushed, destemmed and then fermented on skins for 22 days. Only 25% of the oak was new, in which the Pinot aged for 12 months before bottling. This is not a light and simple Pinot Noir but instead a dark and complex one, with plenty of flesh on its bones. Black cherry and spice predominate, with fruity and savoury notes of raspberry, plum, mint and herbs. It’s an incredibly ripe wine at 14% alcohol, although with everything in balance, you’ll hardly notice. Roast some duck, pop open this Pinot Noir, and your evening will be set.